While we were in Gastonia following the Rally To The Colors, we decided to take the opportunity to visit one of the best points of interest in the area and indulge in my personal love for natural history and science.
The Schiele Museum of Natural History was built in 1961 and founded by Mr. Randolph "Bud" Schiele and his wife Lily Hobbs Schiele, both of them naturalists and worldwide collectors of animal and mineral specimens.
Because it is located about a mile from Interstate 85, over 100,000 visitors from all over the United States and North America visit The Schiele Museum every year. This blogger highly recommends that anyone planning a trip that goes near Gastonia to take the time to stop over for an hour or so and visit, especially if you have children who love Dinosaurs -- the very first thing someone sees going into the entrance is a massive T-Rex skeleton!
The "Wankel Rex" or "Devil Rex" was discovered in Hell Creek sediments on an island in the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in 1988 by Montana rancher Kathy Wankel. At the time it was the largest discovered species of Tyrannosaurus rex.
The skeleton on display at The Schiele Museum is one of the casts made of the original skeleton owned by the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana. Other casts of the Wankel Rex are on display at: The University of California Museum of Paleontology in Berkley, The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, and The Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum in Bathurst, New South Wales.
Interesting note: it was determined by paleontologists that the Wankel Rex was only 18 years old when it died -- an adult but not fully grown! WOW!
In addition to the impressive Wankel Rex skeleton, The Schiele Museum also houses thousands of specimens of stuff and living creatures from across North America and the world, as well as the natural history from the Piedmont area of North Carolina.
There are many permanent exhibits that tell the stories of not only the natural history of the North Carolina Piedmont, but also the biodiversity of North America from the tundra of Alaska to the Sonora Desert of the Southwestern US and Mexico. Also featured is a hall of Native American history featuring a great exhibit of Native American artifacts, a North Carolina hall that displays the various regions of North Carolina, and a huge wildlife of North America gallery.
The Schiele Museum is also home to the James H. Lynn Planetarium which updated projection equipment that provides an immersive, high-definition visual experience. The planetarium itself features various visual shows, educational films, as well as impressive views of the stars and constellations in the night sky. This experience is truly worth the extra price in the 156 seat domed planetarium.
Finally, no trip to The Schiele Museum is complete without a walk along the 0.7 mile nature trail that features several interesting natural and historical and Southern cultural heritage of the North Carolina Piedmont. This includes an outstanding replica Catawba Indian village that interprets 400 years of history from pre-European colonial times, to the 19th century from prehistoric bark-covered huts to log cabins. A Stone Age heritage display site complete with standing stones, stone circles, earthen burial mound, rock cairn and petroglyphs. An 18th century backcountry farm complete with gristmill, which on certain days of the year features local Revolutionary War era living history re-enactors depicting everyday life for European settlers.
There is even a pond with a park for the kids, a gazebo to relax under, and even a Little Free Library and benches for children and adults who want to read outdoors.
The following are the photos taken by this blogger and my brother Roy "Sharky" Wallen during our visit to The Schiele Museum.
|A beautifully depicted Native-American themed statue "Aspiration To Flight" greets visitors near the entrance to The Schiele Museum.|
|The king of the dinosaurs!|
|Yours truly standing next to the fossilized femur of the famous |
Sauropod Apatosaurs a native of North America during
the Late Jurassic Period about 152 million years ago (mya)
....er, give or take a few centuries.
|The Learning Center.|
|A bronze display of some of my favorite local critters.|
|My brother Roy meets a new friend.|
|Roy standing at the display featuring the life of Mr. Randolph "Bud" Schiele|
one of the founders of the museum.
|The Schiele Museum has an outstanding gift shop.|
|Entrance to the James H. Lynn Planetarium.|
|A very artistic tabletop just outside the entrance.|
|A Little Free Library stands near the decorative benches by the playground|
and pond area for both children and their parents alike to enjoy.
Overall a very rewarding and educational couple hours, well worth the trip and the time to stop and look.
I hope that y'all enjoyed taking this trip with me and my brother, but I would encourage any of you traveling in the area of Gastonia, North Carolina to stop over and visit The Schiele Museum for yourselves and see these and other wonderful things.
The Schiele Museum of Natural History is located at 1500 E. Garrison Blvd. in downtown Gastonia. Click on the link at the top of this blog post to visit their website.
Please leave a comment below about this post, or any question you may have about anything mentioned here.
Y'all have a great day.